Last Updated: June 29th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY. — Cadet Robert Velasquez, from Missouri University of Science and Technology, 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, is making his way through the challenges of Cadet Summer Training with the precision of a veteran. Today, under the Kentucky sun, Velasquez and his peers engage in a land navigation exercise, aimed at honing their ability to navigate diverse terrain and locate critical checkpoints.

Velasquez’s journey to this moment is defined by a wealth of military experience. Having joined the Army in 2008, he served with distinction, including deployments to Iraq in 2009, 2010, and “Operation Odin” from 2011 to 2012. Stationed at Fort Jackson, Sc., as both a drill sergeant and a first sergeant.

Transitioning from active duty as a combat engineer to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history, Velasquez’s path led him to the Green to Gold program, where he transitioned to ROTC with aspirations to branch into medical services. His decision reflects his desire to continue his service in a capacity that allows him to positively impact future generations of soldiers.

“I was comfortable where I was at, but I wanted to challenge myself further, earn my degree, and become the best officer I can be,” Velasquez shared. “I aim to be remembered as an officer who made a difference and genuinely cared for his soldiers.”

His commitment and leadership have not gone unnoticed among his peers and superiors. “Cadet Velasquez has definitely stepped up to the plate and provided a lot of insight on how the Army works,” said Capt. Alexander Walters, Assistant Professor of Military Science at Canisius University. “His platoon mates look up to him for his experience. Overall, he’s a great cadet.”

Fellow cadets also speak highly of Velasquez’s influence and guidance. Carter Campbell from Clemson University says “Velasquez is an amazing Cadet” and highlighted his reliability and mentorship qualities. “He’s someone we can rely on to catch us up to speed. Velasquez is a great mentor for anyone aspiring to lead.”

For Velasquez, CST represents an opportunity for personal growth and camaraderie. “My goal for CST is to become a better version of myself,” he said. “To learn from my platoon, build lasting bonds, and draw from our diverse experiences.”

Offering advice to his peers, Velasquez emphasized preparation and resilience. “Hydrate,it is hot out here. Trust in yourself and your training. If you’ve taken your classes, labs, and physical training seriously, you’ll excel. Come physically fit to pass the ACFT, and CST will be manageable. Don’t fear mistakes, learn from them here, so you can lead effectively in the field.”

Looking ahead, Velasquez outlined his vision for his platoon. “I aim to foster a family environment where trust and reliability are second nature,” he shared. “Establishing standard operating procedures and building morale are crucial to our success as future leaders. Together, we’ll learn and grow, ensuring we’re well prepared for the challenges ahead.”

Velasquez takes a moment to send a heartfelt message to his family. “Vanessa, Christopher, Emily! I love you guys! You are my world, and I can’t wait to see you soon!”

About the Author: Victor Mejia-Jeronimo